NV

 

 I’m having a flashback now of the time Kay and I were in the bright and glitzy city of Las Vegas, downtown on Fremont Street, witnessing the Fremont Street Experience, an overhead light and sound extravaganza that I’m positive can never be matched anywhere else.  No other city in America can compete with Las Vegas for bright lights and flashiness. And make no mistake about it: downtown Las Vegas is bright.

 

 

Kay’s attention is drawn by the Fremont Street Experience in Las Vegas

Kay’s attention is drawn by the Fremont Street Experience in Las Vegas

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kay at Hoover DamBelying all that neon glow is Hoover Dam, just a few miles away on Lake Mead, where Kay and I witnessed water meet rock in a big way.  Damming the deep blue waters of the Colorado River over 60 years ago filled the brown and orange rock canyon and created a sightseeing spectacle out in the desert on the Nevada/Arizona line.  Down the Colorado is a mini-Vegas – the gambling center of Laughlin.

 

Speaking of desert, a whole lot of Nevada is nothing but desert disrupted only by bare rock mountains and sprinkled with sagebrush everywhere. Small but lively gambling towns along Interstate 80 spring up within this type of terrain, places like Wendover, Elko, Battle Mountain, Winnemucca and desolate Pyramid Lake.

 

 

Gary in Las Vegas (above) and in Reno (below)

Gary in Las Vegas (above) and in Reno (below)

 

 

 

 

 

Gary in Reno

Once we traveled along US 50, which is called the “Loneliest Road in America“, which again, fits the type of terrain I spoke of.  This route also parallels the Pony Express Route, which used to connect St. Joseph, Mo., to Sacramento, Ca.

 

We played the slots in the “Biggest Little City in the World” as Reno is billed. Near sparkling blue Lake Tahoe rimmed in pine and spruce covered Sierra Nevadas, we drove alongside the Ponderosa Ranch and stopped off at the silver mining Bonanza town of Virginia City and the active Nevada capital of Carson City.

Lake Tahoe

Gary at the jewel of all mountain lakes: Lake Tahoe

The one common denominator we found in Nevada was that no matter where you went, or what corner of the state you might find yourself in, there was always a casino with wall-to-wall slot machines.

 

 

NBKay and I got our first taste of Canada’s maritime provinces in New Brunswick. Just across the St. John River from Madawaska, Maine, is the little ethnic town of Edmundston, where we did our border crossing thing.

 

In eastern New Brunswick, we passed through the city of Moncton, as we made our way down to Fundy National Park on the fascinating Bay of Fundy. In southern New Brunswick, on the wide part of the bay, we detoured through the dirty industrial port of Saint John.  In central New Brunswick, we drove all around the manicured riverside city of Fredericton.  And where the Bay of Fundy meets the Atlantic Ocean, we tooled around little Campobello Island, site of notorious Franklin Roosevelt’s one-time summer home.

 

 

NHI remember first coming into New Hampshire with Kay at my side, in the White Mountains area that is among the most scenic of all of New England.  In the valley below lies the White Mountain gateway village of North Conway, which draws tourists from all over the country.  It was there where Kay and I ended our meandering drive along the winding Kancamagus Highway, famous for being one of the prettiest auto routes in the entire country, especially in the fall.  There are covered bridges along the way and the beautiful Swift River ripples alongside the road for most of the journey.  And perfecting the scene are hardwoods with multicolored leaves just about everywhere you look.  Over at Franconia Notch I remember looking up and seeing New Hampshire’s own Old Man of the Mountain, a natural phenomenon composed of a series of granite ledges jutting from a cliff 1200 feet in the air that strikes a remarkable resemblance to an old man peering down from above onto Profile Lake.  Also at Franconia Notch, we went to see The Flume, an 800-foot gorge with high granite walls, which support a variety of mountain flora in summer, with water tumbling in a series of cascading waterfalls and pools in between.  Higher in the White Mountains is the Presidential Range, which can be seen in full glory from the grand resort at Bretton Woods.  And how can we forget that awesome sighting of the formidable and imposing Mt. Washington, the northeast’s highest peak at over 6,000 feet, where freaky, winter-like weather can occur on its summit any time of year.

 

Away from the White Mountains playground but set nevertheless in very hilly and forested terrain, we’ve passed through tiny Dixville Notch, whose 30 some-odd voters get to cast their vote before anyone else in the country does and who handed Libertarian presidential hopeful Andre Marrou a victory over Clinton and Bush in the 1992 New Hampshire primary. Our pilgrimage there was in part a tribute to the thoughtful voters of that wonderful little village.

Kay with Old Man of the Mountain background at Franconia Notch, NH

Kay with Old Man of the Mountain background at Franconia Notch, NH

South of the White Mountains, in the scenic wooded lakes region of New Hampshire, Kay and I got to drive by one of the nicest looking lakes in New England, pretty Lake Winnepesaukee, which must have been scenic enough for the producers of the movie On Golden Pond, for it to have been filmed there. From the lakes region heading south, we’ve driven through the small capital city of Concord and through the industrial center of Manchester.

 

New Hampshire happens to have a nice vantage point on the cold Atlantic, as our drive along the beaches from Seabrook through Hampton and Rye Beaches and up to Portsmouth was a quite nice one.

 

NJIn thinking back on the times Kay and I were in New Jersey, the first areas that come to mind are the two major urban sections we’ve hung out in: the New York City suburbs that include Newark, Elizabeth and Jersey City; and the Philadelphia suburbs that include Camden, Cherry Hill and Maple Shade.  The former area we went crazy trying to navigate either in getting to Newark Airport, or in trying to weave our way south from New England to points south.  The latter area we actually had the pleasure of occupying for a two-week business project we were involved in, which gave us the opportunity for a few fine day trips to less congested areas of the Garden State.

 

Kay and I got to stroll the Boardwalk at Atlantic City, as like tokens on a large Monopoly set.  The sight of whitecaps on waves rolling in from the gray ocean waters juxtaposed against carnival rides and high rise casinos, the sounds of screams from both seagulls and children alike, the smell of fried seafood, funnel cakes and cotton candy – all came together to form a live mosaic of a classic Jersey Shore moment.

 

 

Gary and Kay embrace each other on the Boardwalk in Atlantic City, N.J.

Gary and Kay embrace each other on the Boardwalk in Atlantic City, N.J.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Farther down the Jersey Shore, Kay and I rolled into historic and charming Cape May – only to roll out minutes later on a Delaware Bay ferry bound for Delaware on the opposite side.

Kay at Washington Crossing (of the Delaware) on the NJ side

Kay at Washington Crossing (of the Delaware) on the NJ side

We peered across the Delaware River at Washington Crossing, where, of course, George Washington crossed that river with his troops during the American Revolution.  Nearby Trenton also figured prominently in the revolution and we made sure we logged that site as well.

 

 

NMKay and I have engaged in both work and play alike down in the Land of Enchantment. The bulk of that time was spent in charming Santa Fe, with its indwelt southwest flavor that draws from an interesting assortment of influences: Spanish adobe architecture in just about every business and dwelling; Mexican cuisine of every style and taste; an endless array of Indian art, pottery, and turquoise jewelry; and basically all kinds of folks clad in western attire and cowboy hats.  On the Plaza in downtown Santa Fe these distinctive elements blend together to form what I believe to be the most unique little city in the country.

 

Gary in New MexicoA couple of times we’ve made our way through the state’s only big city, Albuquerque, a thriving cross-section of New Mexicans living on the Rio Grande River sprawled out between the desert floor and Sandia Peak.

 

We’ve driven through the foothills north of Santa Fe that are heavy on the steep inclines, high sweeping vistas and sheer drop-offs, which encompass the sleepy towns of Taos and Los Alamos.

 

In the high desert, we’ve stood mesmerized at Shiprock, the sacred Navajo rock formation rising 1700 feet above the desert floor, and we’ve weaved our way through Farmington, where the desert starts climbing into the foothills, and through the town of Gallup that bakes away in the hot noonday sun.

Down in the lower desert, we blew past Las Cruces, Deming and Lordsburg, but paid special attention to the high, massive dunes made up of pure, white gypsum at the White Sands monument.

 

And out in the middle of nowhere, as it seemed, Kay and I camped out on the lonesome, wind-blown badlands with the roadrunners and coyotes near Ft. Sumner, where 21-year-old William Bonney was gunned down a century ago, After a hot breakfast and a cup of coffee at the Billy the Kid cafe, we set out across yucca grown flat lands for Clovis and the Texas line.

 

Venturing into the mountains, Kay and I drove to Ruidoso once to watch a candidate whose campaign we were managing speak to a group of ranchers.  It’s the area of Lincoln County where both Billy the Kid fought in the Lincoln County Cattle War, and where Smokey the Bear was found, high up in a tree. 

Gary and Kay pose in downtown Santa Fe, N.M. (top left); Kay poses as Shiprock rises from the desert floor in the distance in northwestern New Mexico (bottom right)

Gary and Kay pose in downtown Santa Fe, N.M. (top left); Kay poses as Shiprock rises from the desert floor in the distance in northwestern New Mexico (bottom right)

 

Kay at Shiprock, NM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While in the area, we got a taste of alpine air and the wiffs of smell of pine wood burning at Cloudcroft.

 

 

Gary at White Sands in New Mexico

Gary at White Sands in New Mexico

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gary at White Sands

 

 

Back on the desert floor, we sailed through the towns of Alamogordo and Socorro, without stopping.

 

 

 

 

 

 

NYI remember every time Kay and I stopped into the Big Apple. New York City served host to us on more than one occasion, with mixed reviews for the city where Broadway runs.

 

Kay and Gary at New York CityWe didn’t like trying to slip into Manhattan in the middle of the day, only the find that the traffic – oh, that worst-in-the-nation traffic – had come to a standstill at about 155th Uptown. And we didn’t like rounding the corner in the SoHo district, and trying to get to the Holland Tunnel, and being cut off and honked at and swore at and…not being able to move. We didn’t especially care for the filth and the stench inside the subway station as we waited for one of those speeding bullets so we could squeeze our bodies from the crowded platform onto an even more crowded subway so we could feel the body heat of other passengers as we tried to get from wherever we were back to Grand Central Station in order to ride a commuter rail to a more sane locale up river.  We weren’t particularly fond of being asked to “spare some change” every time we turned around.  We weren’t crazy about trying to make a living talking to people in Brooklyn and hearing just about every language spoken but English.  And make no mistake about it: we hated lying on the cold floor all night long at LaGuardia Airport, completely exhausted and needful of sleep that would never come, so we could catch the early morning flight out.

 

But New York City was not without charm or beauty, either. I’ll never forget that night we saw the most incredible silvery quarter-moon glowing over a shimmering Manhattan nighttime skyline and glistening over the East River in the foreground, rendering us oblivious that we were stalled in Queens backed up in traffic waiting to get over the Triborough Bridge.  And I never want to minimize anything when describing that rush you get when leaning over the railing at Battery Park and realizing you’ve just spotted the Statue of Liberty with your own eyes.  Who can discount the value of a romantic meal with your lovely wife at a fine restaurant on Manhattan’s east side?  And isn’t it fun to tool around the largest city in the United States picking out sights you’ve heard about all your life, such as the Empire State Building, Wall Street, Central Park, Times Square, the Brooklyn Bridge, and Yankee Stadium, as Kay and I have done?

 

 

Kay stands in beautiful Lake Placid, in the New York Adirondacks

Kay stands in beautiful Lake Placid, in the New York Adirondacks

 

But when it was time to get down to business in New York for Kay and me, it happened not to be on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, but rather in the busier shopping sections of the Bronx and at the crowds on Coney Island.

I can recall Kay and me roaming quieter Westchester County around Sleepy Hollow, several miles upstate.  While we didn’t run into the Headless Horseman, some of our old haunts along the Hudson River Valley are charmingly seductive, including Tarrytown, Elmsford and Tappan Zee, where the huge bridge spans the magnificent Hudson, the mightiest river in the northeast, at its widest point.  We traipsed through that area from Yonkers in the south to White Plains in the east, to Croton-on-Hudson in the north and beyond to West Point, Newburgh and Poughkeepsie.

 

But Upstate is where the real scenic beauty of New York lies.  I remember the time we wandered lazily through the shady Catskills, in the land of Rip Van Winkle and the Woodstock Festival.  And I remember shuttling through the stunning beauty of the Adirondacks from picturesque Lake George Village on wonderful Lake George north to Plattsburgh on the watery shores of huge Lake Champlain.   Deeper into the Adirondacks, Kay and I spent a weekend in the Lake Placid area, but it was Saranac Lake where we pitched tent.   One drawback of the scenery of these mountains, as I remember that time we were off mountaineering while a torrential store drenched our unprotected tent.  Saranac Lake could be the most idyllic body of water in the East.  I do remember looking up, at an area between the Adirondacks and Lake Champlain, and seeing Fort Ticonderoga, of American Revolution fame.

 

One of the most memorable sights ever to behold lies in New York State: majestic Niagara Falls.  I remember being simultaneously soothed and excited as we watched the awesome volume of water rage down the Niagara River and spill over the rocks at American Falls and Horseshoe Falls, billowing mist so high in the air it can almost be seen from Buffalo.

 

 

Kay and Gary lean against a railing as Niagara Falls roars in the background in western New York state.

Kay and Gary lean against a railing as Niagara Falls roars in the background in western New York state.

 

 

 

 

 

Rivaling the view at the Falls was the time Kay and I raced up to the shore of Lake Ontario at Fort Niagara only to stand transfixed at the scene that lay before us on the horizon.  For there in the orangish-red glow of sunset, far across the waters of one of the USA’s Great Lakes, was the unmistakable skyline of the Canadian city of Toronto. One time we drove along Lake Ontario marveling at its baby blue waters all the way to scenic Sodus Point before dropping south to follow the old Erie Canal.  Another time we were driving along the Ontario side of the lake, and parked on a bluff to gaze down at New York State’s amazing Thousand Islands, all blanketed in pines and dotting the upper end of Lake Ontario and squeezing into the international waters of the St. Lawrence Seaway.

 

Kay poses at the Erie Canal in Upstate New York (above); Gary relaxes with an ice cream on one of New York's Finger Lakes at Skanateales, N.Y. (below)

Kay poses at the Erie Canal in Upstate New York (above); Gary relaxes with an ice cream on one of New York's Finger Lakes at Skanateales, N.Y. (below)

Gary on Finger Lakes

I remember crossing the state on the New York State Thruway from Albany through the Empire state’s major burgs of Syracuse and Rochester as we’d head out toward Buffalo, but I can’t forget the more scenic route across Upstate New York that transversed the green acres of the Finger Lakes region from Skanateales to Seneca Falls.

 

 

NC

 

 

Late one fall, after the trees were bare and the ground covered with leaves, Kay and I came down to Durham to work on a project and while there, we got around to campuses in Raleigh and Chapel Hill.  We also had work-related business to do in Greensboro and in Charlotte.  I remember how sweet Charlotte was in the early spring, dogwoods all abloom; pink and white were the pastel colors of that city at that time.

 

My squaw Kay stands in Cherokee on the Indian Reservation (above); Gary points down into the valley below on the Blue Ridge Parkway in western North Carolina (below)

My squaw Kay stands in Cherokee on the Indian Reservation (above); Gary points down into the valley below on the Blue Ridge Parkway in western North Carolina (below)

Gary in North Carolina

 

In passing through the state on any one of its many Interstate highways, Kay and I have been from the Smoky Mountains in the west to Winston-Salem in the middle and to Fayetteville in the east.

 

One of our biggest regrets is that we didn’t follow through with our plan one morning to go check out North Carolina’s Outer Banks; we never made it there together, but a couple of months after Kay was no longer with us, I managed to make that tribute pilgrimage to the Cape Hatteras area, at Morehead City.  Much later, I got to see the windblown sands Kill Devil Hills and Kitty Hawk; but it just wasn’t the same.

 

 

 

NDIn North Dakota, Kay and I were a part of history one spring as we stumbled into Grand Forks on the heels of the Great Flood of ’97, by chance on the first day residents came back from evacuation to clean out their water soaked homes. We took a historic ramble around the little town on the banks of the Red River, which was sandbagged still as we made our pass through.

  

 

 

We spent a whole week in the chilly springtime high prairie winds at Watford City, which wouldn’t have been much fun had it not been for its proximity to the interesting land forms that awaited our sightseeing at Theodore Roosevelt National Park (North Unit).   Actually, we were kind of isolated in that little town, having Williston, about 50 miles to the north, as our nearest population center of any kind.

 

 

Gary in Rugby, NDWe barely got to see the largest city of Fargo together, but it was in fact our main pit stop after our long Canadian vacation as summer was coming to an end and Fargo was starting to get chilly.  In crossing the Peace Garden State, we drove along through Jamestown, Bismarck and Dickinson, and watched as the landscape transformed itself into something that kind of made us want to break out into a chorus of, “Home, home on the range”.  The buffalo definitely roamed the open range of western Dakota, albeit I can attest that we never saw a “playing antelope” on our trek across the state.  Still, we didn’t want anyone to fence us in as we did our own roaming, which also included a fleeting look at the badlands at Medora.

 

 

 

 

 

Kay thinks about the devastation on the Red River in Grand Forks, N.D. during the Great Flood of '97.

Kay thinks about the devastation on the Red River in Grand Forks, N.D. during the Great Flood of '97.

 

 

 

 

 

NWTKay didn’t get to accompany me on this one and only trip to this extreme remote Canadian hinterland, but she certainly got fed updates from the ground back to her Wisconsin base.  I don’t know if her absence from this trip (a rare occurrence for me to travel somewhere without her) “counts” for purposes of what is meant to be a chronicle of our joint travels, but it’s getting included.

 

I was compelled and couldn’t resist going North! to see the midnight sun (yes, that’s correct, because it was there) so I drove up from my Dawson City outpost on the Dempster Highway.  In case you didn’t know, that’s a gravel road for 450 miles, and I’m talking each way. 

 

 

 

Gary in the Land of the Midnight Sun, in the Northwest Territories

Gary in the Land of the Midnight Sun, in the Northwest Territories

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The first town I hit after entering the Northwest Territories was Fort McPherson, where I saw the fabled midnight sun for the first time in my life.  It was actually between 2 and 3 in the morning as I drove around the town in the daylight looking for a place to lay my head.  Kids were playing in the street and folks were walking places.  At around 35°, it was a bit too chilly to camp, as I had been doing till that night.

 

I suffered a condition I’ll call “geographic starstruck” when I spotted the pullout for the pavilion that reminded me that I had reached the Arctic Circle.  A milestone for me, for sure.

 

 

 

 

Gary reaches the Arctic Circle, Northwest Territories, Canada

Gary reaches the Arctic Circle, Northwest Territories, Canada

The little Eskimo village of Inuvik, at the end of the Dempster Highway, is actually the farthest north you can drive in North America.  It’s on a little inlet of the Arctic Ocean.  I took time to play around there, and see the igloo-shaped church.  I also used it as an opportunity for communications, as I checked my email and made a phone call to Kay to tell her how cool it was to have gone there.

 

One thing I was totally surprised by, and that was the lack of snow or ice.  I know it was July but I had always thought the land that far north near the Arctic Ocean was perpetually frozen.  But guess not.  I did see wild horses romping around as I drove back to Dawson City.

 

NSKay and I had the auspicious occasion to indulge in one of North Americas’s truly spectacular auto drives: the stunningly impressive Cabot Trail on the northeastern tip of Nova Scotia on treasured Cape Breton. The circle tour started at the causeway that separates the mainland from the cape, where we charted a course through lush green wooded hills full of lakes, rivers and streams. “New Scotland” was alive and teeming with character that warm July day as the sounds of bagpipes echoed through the highlands as we drove along. Indeed, just out of Alexander Graham Bell’s former summer home of Baddack we spied a Scottish lad clad in full attire, complete with plaid kilt, blowing away at the pipes on the side of the highway next to a general store.

 

We followed the Cabot Trail until we sighted open sea at Margaree Harbor. There, the route became interesting. All the way up to Cheticamp, our left side window yielded a steady reel of live ocean footage. The scene improved

 

 

Kay in the Highlands of Nova Scotia

Kay in the Highlands of Nova Scotia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gary by the sea on the Cabot Trail in Nova Scotia

Gary by the sea on the Cabot Trail in Nova Scotia

drastically once entering Cape Breton Highlands National Park, as the ribbon of road wound its way up and up the steep hills.  It was there that we were treated with breathtaking coastal panorama unmatched anywhere else (except perhaps on California’s Big Sur coastal highway) on the continent.  We were confronted with high, sweeping panoramic vistas that featured the surf crashing into the rocks directly below, miles and miles of coastline we had cruised moments before, and an overwhelming gape at the capacious blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean that stretched into forever.

 

 

 

Gary holds up a copy of Titanic Times (above), while a salty, seafaring Kay cruises Halifax harbor (below)

Gary holds up a copy of Titanic Times (above), while a salty, seafaring Kay cruises Halifax harbor (below)

 

 

 

 

 Kay in Halifax

 
  

Back down into the port of Halifax, Kay and I completely immersed ourselves in maritime culture, as we dined on fish and digby scallops in open-air fashion on the waterfront, took a cruise around the second-largest natural harbor in the world and delved into Halifax’s history as it related to the Titanic sinking.  When the ship went down in the north Atlantic in 1912, Halifax happened to be the closest port this side of the sinking site and consequently rescue missions originated from the city’s waterfront.

 

 

 

On the other side of Nova Scotia, Kay and I investigated the tidal generating station at Annapolis Royal, an intriguing little village on the Bay of Fundy, where tides are the highest of anywhere in the world – as much as 46 feet difference between high tide and low tide.  Kay and I once watched a fantastic sunset over the Bay of Fundy, then sat and watched from our campground the tidal phenomenon at work.  After several minutes the muddy, mucky ocean floor was visible where moments before the sea stood.

 

NRThe one thing I’ll remember about the Mexican state of Nyarit is the bad bouts of Montezuma’s Revenge that we suffered while staying in Tepic.  That was mostly characterized by extreme stomach discomfort and an overwhelming nausea.  We had it on different days (she had it one day, then a day was skipped before I got it resumed onto me the following day) but I remember almost dropping my face in that huge bowl of oatmeal at that Tepic restaurant where I tried to “hold something down”.

Kay and Gary in tiny San Blas, Mexico, on the Pacific

Kay and Gary in tiny San Blas, Mexico, on the Pacific

Gary in San Blas

 

Gary in the Mexican jungles between Tepic and San Blas

Gary in the Mexican jungles between Tepic and San Blas

We didn’t get to enjoy Tepic, where the volcano towers above.

 

Driving along through where the thick jungle meets the sea over to little San Blas would have been a nice drive, had it not been for the powerful stench that seemed to permeate most of Mexico, stemming from trash thrown everywhere, in heaps.

 

San Blas itself sits right on a lagoon off the Pacific, and has that quintessential tropical village look, with its grass-thatched huts.

OH

Beside the deep and mysterious Lake Erie, Kay and I did some sightseeing at Port Clinton and Sandusky.  Also sitting on Erie, Kay and I worked and toured the urban metropolis of Cleveland, including the dazzling and modernistic Rock and Roll Hall of Fame lakeside.  Not far from Cleveland, Kay and I took in another cultural showcase, the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton.  Our sightseeing took a somber tone as Kay and I visited Kent State University one twilight and stood in silent indignation at the monument where the Ohio government demonstrated it was not above the murder of four innocent students if that’s what it took to quell dissent of a war nobody wanted.

 

 

The skylines of Cincinnati (above) and Cleveland (below)

The skylines of Cincinnati (above) and Cleveland (below)

  

 

 

 

Kay in Cleveland

I can remember the time Kay and I weaved our way into congested Cincinnati and rolled down and around through town before crossing the wide and flowing Ohio River and into Kentucky.

 

I remember our making deliveries, Kay in Toledo and I in Akron.  Dayton and Youngstown turned out to be just points along our route as we made our way

 

 Kay at Rock and Roll Hall

Hall of Fame time for Gary (above) and Kay (below)

Hall of Fame time for Gary (above) and Kay (below)

 

 

  

 

along some Ohio Interstate highway.   We cruised along the Buckeye State on the Ohio Turnpike countless times, so much so that we practically got to know every exit and every one of its service plazas.

 

 

 

Kay visits the '70 massacre site at Ohio's Kent State University.

28 years later: Kay visits the '70 massacre site at Ohio's Kent State University.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OKI can recall the autumn Kay and I hung out in Oklahoma.  It was a tale of two State Fairs.

 

In the cool September rain in Oklahoma City we worked the Oklahoma City State Fair.  In the warm glow of Indian Summer in Tulsa, we made hay at the Tulsa State Fair.  To this day I don’t know why Oklahoma has two competing State Fairs, but there’s nothing wrong with getting to sample the taste of an old-fashioned Midwest State Fair not once, but twice.

 

We actually indulged in the flavor of Tulsa for several weeks, as we stuck around to do Oktoberfest on the banks of the Arkansas River.  Just about that time we bought a car for $100 at a Tulsa auction which we drove all the way to New England that same autumn.  We searched for signers to our petition while walking the sidewalks of Oral Roberts University.

 

From somewhere in my memory bank are flashbacks of when Kay and I drove that lonely stretch of highway in the Oklahoma panhandle where at times the horizon seemed to show no signs of civilization or even life of any kind, and when we shoved our way through the crowds at one of the liveliest college stadiums in America, at Oklahoma University in Norman, where we skipped over the Sooners in favor of a preseason NFL game between the Chiefs and Buccaneers, the first professional sporting event we got to see together.

 

 

 

Gary in Norman to watch an NFL preseason game

Oklahoma Football: Gary in Norman to watch an NFL preseason game

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oklahoma oil derrick near Bartlesville

Oklahoma oil derrick near Bartlesville

We saw another part of Oklahoma entirely as we passed through Lawton, on our way to crossing that ol’ Red River to get to Texas.

 

Closer to Kansas, we saw the lonely wheatfields and oil derricks around Bartlesville, where we parked ourselves for a few days to do some work around the time of Kay’s birthday.

 

 

ONI can recall breezing through the large but relatively clean and shiny city of Toronto with Kay, ogling the tallest freestanding structure in the world, the CN Tower, which overlooks glistening blue waters of Lake Ontario.  I recall seeing the smallest of the Great Lakes at its finest just beyond Kingston in the Thousand Islands area where the lake funnels into the St. Lawrence Seaway.

 

I remember the time we came down from Toronto and checked out the Ontario side of Lake Erie, as we actually left that 20-lane superhighway in favor of a back road detour just to be able to drive alongside the lake a while before making our way to Windsor.  And Ontario byways gave us a chance to see two other Great Lakes too, Lake Huron as we made an approach to Sault Ste. Marie, and Lake Superior, as we left that crossroads town.

 

I can remember seeing Ontario in all its autumn splendor, from the Michigan border all the way up to Ottawa.  The many lakes, rivers and woods with its plentiful maples and birches makes for a colorful kaleidoscope.  That splendor stretches all the way from Kenora in the west to Thunder Bay on the far north side of Lake Superior, to the little village of Smiths Falls.  Or should I say “splendour”?

Cabin in the woods near Thunder Bay, Ontario

Cabin in the woods near Thunder Bay, Ontario

I can’t forget that frigid December night when we drove through Canada’s capital city of Ottawa at the very time the national Christmas Tree was being lit in Parliament Square. Kay and I left Ottawa a colorful, glowing winter wonderland as we got that Yuletide season off to a cheery start.

 

 

 

 

 

Gary in front of the Canadian Parliament in Ottawa

Gary in front of the Canadian Parliament in Ottawa

 

 

 

 

After exiting Ottawa we continued a route along the slushy Ottawa River and out across Great Northern wilderness to the hinterlands of North Bay and Sudbury.

 

Of course, Kay used to live in Canada, so we had to make a token stop in London, the first Canadian spot she ever called home, and see if the old house was still there.  And there was that time that we had my daughter Jenny with us, and spent the night in Hamilton as we cut across from New York to Michigan, which is to be remembered.

Kay stands in the cold December air in North Bay, Ont.

Kay stands in the cold December air in North Bay, Ont.

We took a long ferry ride once across Lake Huron’s Georgian Bay, that got us to the part where we could more easily scoot over to Sault Ste. Marie.

 

 

Turn the page:

https://libertycrusader.wordpress.com/libertarian-crusader-diary/archived-back-issues/special-wish-you-were-here-postcards-from-all-50-states/page-six/

 

 

 

 

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